Good morning Hemmie and welcome. Can I start, as always, by asking you a little about yourself?
Good morning Jo, and thank you for having me on your blog. I don’t consider myself to be from anywhere in particular in the country as I spent the first nine years of my life in Buckinghamshire but then moved around to places such as York, Norwich, and six years living in the south of France. I’m currently living in Essex but plan to move back to Norfolk in the near future. I’m a mother to two daughters who are both at university studying veterinary medicine and computer science, respectively.
How did your writing journey begin?
It has stuttered over the years, usually curtailed by raising a family or studying for a degree in child and adolescent mental health. My writing journey really took off when I was retired on ill-health grounds from my nursing career and I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. They do say when one door closes another one opens, and it was certainly true in my case.
What attracted you to writing crime?
In my youth, I wanted to be a police woman but ended up a nurse. However, I did end up working alongside the police as a forensic mental health nurse in a youth offending team, so in a roundabout way, I ended up working in the field of policing.
I have always enjoyed crime novels and films; becoming hooked via Agatha Christie, the mistress of crime. Looking further back, Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five were my foray into the world of mystery – it just goes to show how important it is for young people to read or be read to.
Who are your favourite authors and have any of them influenced your writing?
I have a plethora of authors I enjoy reading, from the aforementioned Agatha Christie, to Anita Brookner, and Maggie O’Farrell. I think Christie influences me when writing crime to having a setting where the cast of characters are based, for example, in a hotel or living in a small village. O’Farrell and Brookner have inspired me with delving into atmosphere and description, which is perhaps more noticeable in the women’s contemporary novels I also write.
Which are the best and worst parts of writing for you
I love creating new characters, especially the antagonists with deep flaws in their personalities, as it really fires-up my creativity. When writing my contemporary novels, I love seeing where the journey and characters take me, without too much of a plan to adhere to, when writing the first draft.
However, writing crime requires a lot more planning, and this is something I don’t always find enjoyable; it can be restrictive in the early stages of writing the novel.
Something I really enjoy doing for both genres is editing. I love deleting words or sections that add nothing to the flow of the story, and I love refining sentences and discovering new words to convey what I am meaning.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am in the process of editing The Reluctant Mother, which is a contemporary novel about a woman suffering with postpartum psychosis, whose life and marriage is crumbling around her. I have worked with James, an editor provided for me by my publisher, for the past five years, and I believe we really understand one another after all this time, and I have learnt a lot from him over the years.
I am also 50,000 words into the first draft of the next DI Eva Wednesday novel – the fifth in the series.
And lastly, you’ve been invited onto I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. If you could choose four of your companion contestants, who would they be and why?
Ooh, lovely question, Jo! My first choice would be Greg Davies, the actor and stand-up comedian, as his humour would lift my spirits in what would be an arduous few weeks for me. Next, I would like to have Emma Thompson, as she is someone I have always admired in the acting arena, and she comes across as a very interesting and caring woman in interviews. I would love to have the novelist, Maggie O’Farrell, there to discuss the world of writing and her novels – which I thoroughly enjoy. Lastly, I would like Sandi Toksvig, as I find her clever and witty – a dynamic combination. I like the idea of being entertained and having thought provoking conversation whilst in the jungle, but please don’t nominate me to eat the disgusting parts of animals – it wouldn’t be pretty viewing!
Hemmie Martin spent most of her professional life as a Community Nurse for people with learning disabilities, a Family Planning Nurse, and a Forensic Mental Health Nurse working with young offenders. She spent six years living in the south of France. She now writes full time.
Hemmie created the DI Wednesday series, featuring DI Eva Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox, set in and around Cambridge, with fictional villages. There are four books in the series so far. Hemmie has also written a psychological thriller, Attic of the Mind, and two contemporary women’s fiction, The Divine Pumpkin and Garlic & Gauloises. Mental health often features in her novels due to her nursing background. Hemmie is a member of The Crime Writer’s Association.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER – HEMMIE’S LATEST DI WEDNESDAY NOVEL
What happens after the murder? A killing has occurred during a Parting Ways weekend, where couples attempt to divorce amicably. The fallout points in many directions as Wednesday and Lennox are faced with a widow, sparring couples, the group facilitators, and the hotel staff, all as suspects. While the confounding case strengthens Wednesday’s negative views on relationships, it brings Lennox to a place of reflection as he analyses his past and contemplates his future.
GARLIC AND GAULOISES
Alice Calwin finds herself without purpose in life after the death of her mother, whom she’d been caring for following a stroke. Theo Edwards, a literary journalist, has a sour outlook on life, bolstered by his ongoing divorce, and is feeling the pressure to revitalise his column in the newspaper.
They encounter one another at a writers’ retreat in France, but Alice’s shameful past and Theo’s deceptive reasons for being there end up affecting them both in very different ways.
When someone finally acknowledges their mistakes, is it ever too late to make amends?
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